Lewis Hamilton continued to dominate Formula 1 practice for the Austrian Grand Prix and headed his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by almost two tenths, whilst the upgraded Mercedes was well clear of the Formula 1 field, with the Ferrari of Vettel lined up closely behind the Mercedes.
Hamilton’s fastest time was a 1.04.579s, and it gave the Briton a 0.176s advantage over his Formula 1 team-mate, whilst Sebastian Vettel was third fastest and was 0.236s adrift of the fastest time set by Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, the Red Bull’s struggled for outright pace — slotted in fourth and fifth — as Raikkonen failed to match his team-mate.
The yellow marked soft tyres appeared to be a favorable tyre through the session, as most frontrunners — including Hamilton and Bottas — was unable to better their soft tyre lap-times on ultra-soft tyres late on, which were intended qualifying simulations. Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari marginally improved his lap time in his Ferrari on ultra-softs, however his soft run was quite early on in the session.
Story of the session
As the session got underway Sirotkin and Grosjean were first to take to circuit for their runs. Grosjean went fastest with a 1.07.387s, but was quickly pipped by many rivals in fear of rain arriving. Alonso soon led a McLaren 1-2 with a 1.06.421, which have him a 0.4s advantage over his team-mate, until impressive rookie Leclerc sandwiched between the two.
The two Ferrari’s were first of the front runners, and Raikkonen immediately went fastest with a 1.05.711s, which gave him a 0.204s advantage over his team-mate, albeit on softer tyres. However, upon his second attempt, Vettel pipped his team-mate with a 1.05.273s, which was nearly two tenths faster than his team-mate, despite running slower tyres. The German continued to find lap-time, and was the first man to enter the 1 minute-4s in FP2 with a 1.04.949s, which set him 0.5s ahead of his team-mate.
As the Mercedes took to track — Bottas on the super-softs and Hamilton on the softs — Bottas could only manage fifth, whilst Hamilton went second fastest, and just 0.086s off the fastest time straight out of the box. On his next attempt, Hamilton went to the top of the time-sheets with a 1.04.579s, heading the Ferrari by 0.370s.
Sebastian Vettel was first of the front-runners to take onto the ultra-soft tyres, however couldn’t improve his position on his first run – despite the fastest time in the middle sector.
Pierre Gasly’s session ended with some 50 minutes to go after he damaged his suspension and had to stop on the circuit at Turn 9, which prompted a Red Flag as the Toro Rosso was recovered. The Mercedes drivers were next to trial the UltraSoft tyres, however like Vettel, was unable to improve his time – despite being on much faster tyres.